Fist Stick Knife Gun by Geoffrey Canada

Fist Stick Knife Gun
by Geoffrey Canada
adapted by Jamar Nicholas
Beacon Press, 2010

A graphic novel adaptation of Canada’s 1995 memoir describing his childhood in Harlem in the ’50s and ’60s. An examination of the origins of urban violence and its terrible consequences, the book’s title describes the hierarchy of weapons moved through by the neighbourhood boys – harrowing enough, this is pre-crack, which Canada says “changed everything, seemingly overnight”.

Although set fifty years ago, one thing which hasn’t changed is the ultra-macho mindset of any claustrophobic group of bored young men with no alternatives and nothing to look forward to. That part is still eerily topical, and looms in New Zealand’s future.

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